Mini fiesta

Trip Start Feb 06, 2007
1
86
330
Trip End Jan 14, 2008


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Wednesday, May 23, 2007

May 23rd 207 Fiesta at Yanac
Today the intention was to visit the thermal springs at Yanasara, but arriving at the combi bus station we found there were buses at 5am then not until 12.30pm. Plans changed and we got a combi going to Laguna Sausacocha instead. In the combi fate smiled kindly, and in front of us sat a man with 2 fearsome papier mache masks. He was a teacher at the school at Yanac, a few km beyond the lake, and today and tomorrow were fiesta days. We were invited to watch. Well, it was amazing. The dancers, all boys up to maybe 12 years with masks, fancy sashes and rattling things round their ankles, had a practice at the school first then walked down the road to the church. They take their traditional dancing very seriously. Our cameras were very popular, and we had to take lots of photos then show them to crowds of children.
At the church the boys danced their traditional dances accompanied by a small brass band, then came to us for yet more photos. Meanwhile fireworks shot up into the sky and exploded. While the boys were dancing a group of young women in beautiful skirts and tops were having their practice. When it was their turn we were ushered in front of them and they danced and sang just for us. They put beautifully embroidered hankies on our right shoulders, then we had to join their dance in the centre of their circle. It is very hard dancing with 4 or 5 hankies draped over your shoulder, trying not to drop them. It was great fun. Eventually we had to call a halt  -  we are not used to dancing at 3000 metres. As thanks we bought all the dancers a soft drink, which seemed to be the traditional way of saying thank you.
Afterwards we walked back to the lake and had fried trout for lunch. It was straight from the trout farms in the lake, and delicious. Pete wanted to kayak on the lake, but the only boats available were rowing boats. Well, the boat was HORRIBLE. It was very heavy, but nothing like so heavy as the oars. It nearly killed Barb rowing so Pete had to take over. We have decided that in the interests of marital harmony we will NEVER go in a rowing boat again, unless someone else does the rowing.
Sausacocha has for some unfathomable reason the most magnificent set of stone and concrete steps up to a lookout high over the lake. They would not disgrace Sydney Harbour. Having plodded down the other side we found a few birds, including our first sighting of an Andean lapwing, and a big group of dark ibis not in the book.
Rather than walk 9km back to Huamachuco we flagged down a combi that was already crammed full of people, but they squeezed us in somehow. On the way back we passed a ute being driven by a WOMAN. Women don't drive here. Well, all the guys in the combi (except Pete) swivelled their heads to see this amazing sight, and their eyes almost popped out on stalks.
We tried to buy a bus ticket to Santiago de Chuco for tomorrow, only to find that the promised bus does not exist. We have to go to Shorey , which is en route to Trujillo, then who knows  ????
Tonight it is raining and out in the square there are lots of people all in clothes that are not waterproof. Street vendors are cooking whilst huddled around the warmth of their fires. The only umbrellas in sight are those belonging to the gringos. No one seems to be bothered by the wet or the cold. (except us...it is freezing)
   
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